On July 26, Conveners.org co-hosted a webinar with David Styers of the Presidio Institute to discuss creative approaches to convening cross-sector leaders for impact. During the conversation, Styers shared how the Presidio Institute works to build cross-sector leadership skills through its various programs, while other members who joined the webinar also shared cross-sector collaboration examples from their organizations.
The Presidio Institute’s three programs—the Presidio Institute Fellows, Cross-Sector Leadership Boot Camp, and Leaderosity—serve emerging, mid-career, and senior leaders through intensive in-person connections and accessible online experiences focused on cultivating top talent and creating highly functioning teams. The programs, which range from a 3-day boot camp to a year-long program with a series of in-person gatherings, engage individuals from various sectors who often work in silos and/or sectors work within organizations that do not emphasize cross-sector collaboration. For this reason, the programs are designed in a way that help participants build skills and techniques to better understand and work with individuals from other sectors.
The following are a few of the cross-sector collaboration-building facilitation techniques that were shared during the webinar:
- Build Trust: People need a chance to get to know each other in order to build trust. One of the tools used at their Boot Camps is to have participants draw a tree where the trunk represents “where you came from and where you are now” and the branches represent “what are your aspirations and goals.” They then post everyone’s drawings to create a forrest so that people can then reflect and follow up with others throughout the session.
- Pecha Kucha (Ignite Talk): In this exercise each person gets 20 slides with 20 seconds each to present on a topic. Often the slides are pictorial (no words) and the presentation is used as a tool to have people introduce themselves to a group of strangers. It’s a creative way to get people to share about themselves.
- Vocabulary Lesson: Certain words have different definitions in different sectors, and its worth highlighting their different meanings to shed light on different connotations for words. The word “equity,” for example, means something different to a social justice advocate than it does to a financial planner. One technique during a convening is to create a dictionary of words with shared meaning.
- Agreements: Oops or Ouch. If you heard something that you had a trigger around you can say “Ouch”. If you’ve said something and see people reacting negatively you can say “Oops” and this gives a platform for unpacking that specific conversation.
- Shift from “Safe Space” to “Brave Space”: While creating safe spaces are important, one technique that was shared is to create a space where people feel safe to address challenging issues, and bravely work together to resolve any conflict or hear opposing viewpoints. This technique works especially well when groups are comprised of people from diverse ideological backgrounds.
Let us know if you have any additional approaches or techniques to convene cross-sector leaders that you’d like to share with the community; if so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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